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Reply with quote  #1 

It's been a while since I posted.  I am feeling guilty again for putting my mom in the AL.  She is cooped up inside and they don't go on any outings. She says she needs some fresh air. I live far away and cannot be there.  I feel so bad all the time. I don't know what to do.  There seems to be nothing that can convince me that I did the right thing.  Anyone else in the same boat?
Jane in MA
Reply with quote  #2 
You should be ashamed of yourself!! Locking your mother away in that horrible place with no one to talk to.. no food .. where she can fall and no one will find her for days.. and living in squalor...


Come on, Denise. When it comes to parents, unless they were always martyrs or saints, they are going to complain. What else do they have to do?? Besides, if they acknowledged that maybe you had their best interests in mind, you might just feel good about yourself! We cannot have that!!

Here's a funny thing. After 2 and 1/2 years of listening to my mother complain after I "put" her in an AL, she has finally ended up in a Nursing Home.. her biggest fear.  She went in for rehab after they found her hallucinating in her AL unit. She has since recovered and decided that the Nursing Home is not so bad after all. She gets tons of attention from all the CNAs and they have activities for people in her condition in wheelchairs (not just those who can get on a bus and go to Walmart like at her AL). And she actually thinks the food is good. "No more of those awful fancy cream and mushroom sauces". Go figure.  So she is staying in the NH and so far all is weel. But I give it a month.

This is just an example. But it is to remind you that after every step of the way that we take in caring for our elderly parents, we always second guess ourselves and wonder if we did it good enough. They will never let us feel like it is ever good enough. They are old-fashioned parebts. Bring home a B and they want to know why you did not get and A, right??

The final answer will be that after all is said and done in caregiving. We cared enough to do it at all. Many don't. So hug yourself, move on, and wait for the next step. It will come.. believe me.

Best wishes- Jane
billie jo
Reply with quote  #3 

denise. i'm sorry you are having these feelings of guilt. we all have something we have trouble coming to terms with but you have to consider the facts. if i remember correctly, you were risking your own health and said you were not able to be a caregiver. you were close to breaking down. i was very concerned about the depression you were feeling. it doesn't mean you love her any less because you had to have help with her care. i think you wouldn't be feeling so rotten if you didn't love her. keep in mind she is in a safe place and her needs are being met. it sounds like she is going a little stir crazy more than anything. call the facility and ask what they have on their calendar coming up. even if it is only the bus to go shopping, it is getting out. she can go out of the building and get fresh air on a short walk around the entrance of the building. there are ways she can get fresh air but she has to be willing to put in the eneregy to do it. i feel badly at times that i haven't been able to get daisy out much this winter since it has been unusually cold and snowy. i feel like i should be doing more but sometimes it just is not feasible. we do what we can and what we have to and that is the best we can hope for somedays. ask the facility if they have someone who is outgoing who would be willing to try to involve your mom more. i can imagine you talk to your mom and feel pretty helpless being far away and not being able to jump in and make it all better, but if you remember, you weren't able to make it all better before and you were getting pretty sick worrying about it. you have done your best and what was best for your mom. give your self a break. you are a good daughter and have made decisions in your mom's best interests. hang in there and take care of yourself. we all second guess ourselves, spin our wheels and wear ourselves out with what if's. it is very self defeating. you are a good person. no situation is ever perfect but you did the best with what you had. i'm sorry, a lot of rambling but it's late and i'm not thinking real clear. i hope you understand what i am trying to tell you.

Reply with quote  #4 
Hang in there Denise.

All I will say is: THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!!

In a month, she'll be complaining about something different. It that sounds harsh, so be it. It's reality though.

Reply with quote  #5 

Thank you ladies!

Mary E.
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Denise,

Here is something to also keep in mind if you're feeling guilty.  My mother lives next door to me and my husband and daughter.  She is 90 and using a walker, but determined to stay in her own house.  She has lots of drop in company (my other children, my sister and brother and their children) .  I would say that there are hardly any days of the year when she doesn't see me or someone else.  And yet SHE is bored and says she needs an anti-depressant that works.  She also says she is depressed and has trouble eating. 

So, my story is, if my mother, who in her friends' eyes is living the life all of them wish they'd be able to and SHE is bored and depressed and making her daughter (me) feel guilty because I can't bring her out of it, there seems to be almost no perfect solution to keeping our parents happy!   It is probably just their state of mind - finding themselves (like Rip Van Winkle) old and frail and dependant.  They probably feel like just the other day they were running around taking care of people and doing exciting things and whoosh - they look and they are old.  I know it's depressing - but sometimes they and we just have to accept it. 
Reply with quote  #7 
Denise, I think most of us are feeling the 'cabin fever' due to all this horrible weather everywhere. Everyone I talk to is feeling blue and closed in the house. Spring is near. (I hope) I'm sure the AL will plan some activities outside when weather permits. Or at least walks around the grounds. That will surely help.

Hang in there. I agree with the rest.. you feel bad because you love her so much. As we all know, making decisions is tough and sometimes the only thing or right thing to do feels lousy for awhile. But eventually you will see she is going to be ok. I agree with daughter... this too shall pass.
Reply with quote  #8 

I just talked to mom a few minutes ago.  She says she is to healthy to be in the AL.  I must agree with her a lot of the people look like they are ready to keel over.  Their heads down muttering to themselves.  Very sad.  My mom is very healthy except for when she has the "nervous breakdowns" and she gets forgetful.  So what do I do?  Try to find somewhere that the quality of people are a little more with it?  I am at a loss. 

Reply with quote  #9 

please move up

Reply with quote  #10 
Hi Denise,

Something that I found out regarding the differences in ALs.  Is your Mom's AL listed as an adult home?  Apparently facilities listed as "adult homes" have to be regulated by the state and inspected and must follow certain criteria.  If a facility is classified as "assisted living", it's basically a free-for-all in what they offer.

You know your Mom better than anyone, probably even better than her.  So, with that being said, is she one to just complain for the sake of complaining or do you believe that there is really nothing stimulating offered to her?  Have you spoken with the social worker or recreational director as far as what they have to offer the folks?

If you believe that this just isn't a good match for her--tell her to be patient and start researching 'adult homes' in her area and then, perhaps, you can arrange a move for her.  Even better, if you have the moo-la, maybe contact a geriatric case manager or you can call her local Office for the Aging and ask for a Senior Housing Advocate (good price--free!).  They do the research and the assessments and match people with facilities.

Good luck and dump the guilt, girlfriend!  You're a wonderful daughter doing everything that you possible can.

Jane in MA
Reply with quote  #11 
Maybe if your mother is this healthy, she might like to help out around the AL. In my mother's AL, many of the residents were still pretty spry. They ran the Bingo games, went out shopping and to restaurants together in the van, and planned a lot of the community social events. I think they actually called it  a club, and they also made suggestions for improvements and dinner ideas, etc. Maybe your  mother needs to get involved like this.

I have to warn you, that there is very little YOU can do to make her happier. It's really not your job.. and it will make you crazy trying ( i know, I have been trrying to make my mother happy all my life). Just keep doing what you are doing.. and listen. She needs an ear to complain to. You might try asking her if there is anything she thinks you can do to make things easier for her in there. Just asking may be all she wants.. to know you are there to listen and advocate for her.

Reply with quote  #12 

Maybe your mother is so healthy because she is in AL.  Many of her needs are being taken care of, she is being cared for, getting the meds she needs.  I believe this is why my mother is healthy -- she is being well taken care of,  but, oh my gosh, if she were in independent living, she would be a physical and emotional mess.  So, it sounds like she is getting the care she needs.

No outings????? I do not believe it.  This sounds like my mother.  Every month I get a print out of all the activities and outings at the AL.  There is so much going on there.  And, every month my mother tells me there's "nothing" going on and complains.  So, guess what?  My mother is wrong.  There's plenty going on, and she just chooses not to participate and makes herself unhappy. 

Best to check out with staff what is really going on.  Ask the activities director and maybe have her mail you a copy of the activities each month.  That's a good reality check for you.

Hey, I have dropped the guilt on this, and you can too!!!  No solution is ever going to be perfect, but the AL solution is as perfect as perfect can be for my mother.
Reply with quote  #13 
Gracenotes:  They really do not take the people out of the building!  In the summer they may have a picnic on the grounds.  Next week I am going for a visit and my mom is excited that I will take her out.  I am so nervous and afraid that I will get so down again after seeing her.

I hope I don't go into panic mode.  I am going alone which frightens me.  No support from my husband and kids to be there.  Just me and mom alone.  Any tips?

Thanks for your encouragement.  Like you said - Maybe that is why she is doing well because she is being taken care of.  But gosh she does need to get out of there once in a while. 

Joani, I am not sure I can move her at this point.  She is used to where she is now, but thanks for the suggestion. 

Does anyone know if I can hire someone to take her out occasionally?
From where?

Thanks Jane for your words of encouragement.
billie jo
Reply with quote  #14 

denise. in assisted living the people ar usually more on their own and get help as needed, but they usually always offer a bus to the stores, etc. i'm sorry your mom's place doesn't have one. as far as your question goes, can you hire someone to take your mom out, definitely. if there is a college nearby often times the students are happy to have flexible jobs such as these! they usually will do it for about $10.00 per hour, which is much better than an agency. also you can either advertise your needs in the local paper or ask some of the churhes if they know any women who would be interested in earning a little extra. many are on fixed incomes but are still very active and may like the job of a companion. i was hired to do this for and elder in independent living, i had volunteered but the family insisted on paying. also some of the part time staff in the al and nh are willing to pick up extra hours and many of the places keep their names on a list as referrals for exactly this kind of situation. start there. it is a good idea and you would feel so much better! good luck! i know it is hard to carry the load of a visit in alone. i suggest you take eat lunch in the dining room with her, if they have one there, and you will be able to chat with the people at her table, too. they are usually happy to have new blood at lunch. then take her for a drive and maybe dessert and coffee. if she has anyone whe has made a friendship with, invite that person to join you. the more the merrier! take care. you are a good person and we all can see how hard this has been for you. god bless. g

Reply with quote  #15 

Denise,   iI know the feelings.  But you can't blame yourself.   I had to put my mother back in a nursing home because I could not longer care for her myself.  I was dloing 24/7 with only parttime help from an aid.  It did affect my health so her doctor convenced her to go back.  I feel alot of guilt because I though this one was a better home but just found out the nursing home is on the Government Watch List.  So I go by to visit everyday.   I wish there were something else.  But our precious government does not fund much at home care.  Unless your rich or have long term at home care you don't have much choices.   I find the home does have acitvities but if the elder refuses to attend they can not force them  Sometimes the elderly just want to be left alone and wallow in self pity.  We should not blame ourselves.  

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